All the money I made from magic went into drugs, says Peller's son
FOR years Kayode Joseph Abiola-Peller, the second son of late Professor Abiola Peller, was involved in hard drugs and magic, and eventually found himself in a world ruled by the devil. At a very tender age, Kayode had followed his father's magical footsteps and later floated his own outfit called Fantastic Young Peller and made much money, achieved fame, had four wives and nine cars.
As a strategy for survival, he took to drugs and women and when he could no longer afford the drugs, Abiola Peller offered his son for months as a collateral for regular supply. Later when he became impoverished, he tried to sell his only house for N50,000. But this was averted by his mother who seized the house documents.
Today, Abiola Peller who hails from Iseyin in Oyo State is a bishop and a founder of a fast-growing Christian ministry, Finger of God Ministries which is also actively involved in the rehabilitation of drug addicts.
In this interview, Bishop Abiola Peller talks of his romance with magic, his sudden wealth, the riotous life of a drug addict, women and his new found love, Christianity which also pitched him against his mentor and father; thanking God that “after darkness, at the end of the very dark tunnel, light always comes.”
When were you born?
October 1, 1960 co-incidentally -the day Nigeria gained independence and my naming ceremony was held in the then Iseyin Town Hall. There were lots of things special, about my life and I'm beginning to realise them.
God is now using me to give independence to those who are hopeless, and they named me in the then Iseyin Town Hall, which is unusual at that time. My father was not as big as he was before he died, but then, my naming ceremony was done at the Iseyin Town Hall.
What schools did you attend and where?
I attended primary school in Oluwole, but later my father brought me to Lagos and I continued at Nigerian Model Primary School, Idi Oro.
I eventually passed out from there. I was supposed to enter into the university but I had my full interest in my father's profession that time---magic. So, instead of going to university, I started studying magic under my father and some of his colleagues both in Nigeria and abroad. I passed out from his Federal School of Magic.
How many children had your father?
Normally, Yorubas say they don't count children. We were close to 20, both men and women. He had so many wives. I am the second.
You were born a Muslim...
I was born a Muslim, if there's anything like that. My father and mother being Muslims does not make me to be a born Muslim. Similarly, if one's father and mother are Christians, it doesn't make such a one to be a born Christian. I wasn't born a Muslim, my parents were Muslims.
When I grew up I started practising Islam, the same way they were practising it, even though I didn't have full understanding of what I was practising. Let the whole world know that there's nobody born Christian, a Christian must get to a point where he/she hears the gospel of Christ, and he/she now willingly confesses to redemption,and you become a Christian from that point. From the point I turned from magic to miracle, its my point of redemption, I had given my life to Jesus.
I think the same thing should apply to Islam too. Nobody preached Islam to me. They used to call me Banbali, that's the name they gave me. But by the time I grew up and I've experienced life, I made my choice to convert to Christianity.
Who was Professor Peller?
Professor Peller is my father, a very pleasant man both at home and out of home. He was a very handsome, light complexioned man with tribal marks and a great friend of journalists. He was the godfather of many musicians like Shina Peters, Wasiu Ayinde and all of them. Sunny Ade played for him sometimes. He had several wives. He's very social, and he's a wonderful, family man.
What of Peller and magic?
That's his profession. The moment you mention Peller, what comes to mind is magic. Peller was born with a gift of magic. He was endowed with power to make things appear and disappear and he developed it. He died as the number one magician in Africa. There's no magician that's greater than Peller in the whole of Africa. Before you see Peller's equal or somebody who's greater, you'll get to USA or India.
And only very few of them. And Peller is richer in magical apparatus than the physical wealth or property.
Did he do any other thing?
No. He loved his profession so much. There was a day we were going to perform for late Chief Awolowo---Peller was very tribalistic—he loved Yoruba, he will never go against his tribe. He loved his people. Any time we were going to perform for Chief Awolowo, sometimes, he would use one month to practice.
And he used to tell me that every work has its own spirit, and if you love your work practise it well, that same work will turn around and bless you.
But if you ignore your work and don't treat it well, the spirit of that work will not allow money to get to you.
Peller will practise in the morning, afternoon and night. He said the more you practise, the smoother it becomes; you know it involves some manipulations. Even if magic failed, as at that time, Peller was already a billionaire.
But even if it's a small show, he will practise as if he just learnt the trade, because of the calibre of people.
He loved his job. With that kind of obsession and love for his magic, he couldn't do any other job. He had a lot of political friends and he could probably take contracts from, but he was born a magician, lived a magician and died a magician. Peller was a total magician.
There was the story that he failed once when he had to cut his wife, and the spirits did not allow him to bring his wife back to life...
It was at the National Theatre in Lagos. I think Alhaji Jakande was there to represent Baba Awolowo on that day. I was his assistant on the stage. Such things did really happened, but it all has to be magically.
That's what we call famail. If you are having three or more shows, the first show...it's even happening here; if you do all of the miracles in day one of a 7-day crusade, don't expect to see more crowd the next day.
So also in the world of magic. They want more people to come the following day. So, we have to create something. Peller was too loaded. The only time I saw him performing and something mysterious happened was at Ijebu-Ode. Ijebu people can be highly occultic.
He was performing on stage, and mysteriously something just cut his hand and he started bleeding, and we didn't see the object that cut has hand. And he said, this is an arrow.
He quickly rounded off the show, entered the car, put a handkerchief on the hand and was saying something, and that was the end of it.
But, this issue you are referring to at the National Theatre was a magical farnail, to put everybody in suspense so that the following day, there will be more people. That was what happened at that occasion.
Peller was in charge, but we acted it that way to create a farnail, to put them in suspense. You know Africans, particularly our own people, when their son is doing something that's good, they don't beat drum, but the day he makes a mistake, everybody will want to come and see the mistake.
The following day the place was jam-packed. SSS, policemen, everybody came. Someone came to threaten, saying 'make sure your wife comes out alive, if not, they have signed your warrant of arrest for committing murder publicly in the name of magic.'
People were now shouting, 'all we are saying, give us Lady Peller,' 'we want to see that your wife back.' At the end of about 2-hour performance, Peller came out magically, just appeared from one flower pot with a Nigerian flag and that was the end of the show.
And that's part of the things that gave Peller fame. Alhaji Jakande now went to Chief Awolowo and said it was not as they thought; that Peller is unconquerable. And that's when they gave him the invincible general.
Are the only one among his about 20 children that went into magic...
I was the very first son of Peller that went into magic at the expense of my university education. I used to carry walking stick like him. We may not know it, in one way or the other, we are influencing our children.
Some of your children will love you so much, and they will want to cut their hair the way you cut yours, or dress like you. Peller will not want me to do magic until I've gone to the university, but I said no. It's this your magic I wanted to know, if you die, who will succeed you? After me, there were some other few ones.
But at a point, you decided to leave him and form your own group, why did you do that? Didn't he see it as a rebellion?
No. Some people misinterpreted it. I did that because if you want to prove your worth, if you have an apprentice that you have trained, and you want to prove that he's really gotten what you gave him, then give him some liberty and let him go and do it. That's why we have Super Eagles, Flying Eagles, Golden Eaglets.
All of these Eagles are under Super Eagles. I was like a golden eaglet, Peller was the Super Peller, I was a small Peller under him. It's better for me to do what I'm doing when he's around.
How old were you then?
I started doing magic with my father in 1972. I was 12 years old. I had my first independent show in 1981.
They invited Peller but they couldn't pay him. I met my daddy. At the National Theatre then, there was supposed to be 24 hours show. There was this Igbo woman who was in charge of arts and culture there.
There was one comedian, Mazi Mperempere, one Albert Olayemi. They were arts students from Ile Ife and Sam Loco-Efe. They brought me in to perform magic. I was well paid. By the time we finished, government paid us good money. So these were the shows that brought me up as Young Peller.
Sometimes when your son knows a little bit of what you're doing, it will give you some kind of honour, pride, and you are fulfilled.
How successful were you in magic?
By the name alone, I have the traits of Peller in me. He was my father, a lot of things that he had naturally was like natural endowment being his son. Sometimes, in my profile, I put my autograph Young Peller.
Somebody told me one day that I was using my father's autograph to defraud the public because I want them probably to think they are coming to watch Peller but they will get there and find out that he's not there. I said they can't stone me, Peller is Peller. I was successful.
If you were that successful, why did you abandon the source of that wealth?
I was very successful! I was even Chief Akoko of Ojokoro land. I married four wives---Idowu, Shade, Ruka and Iyabo, and was a friend to Alhaji Kollington Ayinla, Wasiu. They come to my house. I thought I was enjoying my life. But in between that time of pleasure, at that time, I was a very young man.
Yoruba man says, if you want to kill a small boy, don't use knife, don't use gun; give him wealth at unripe age and he will naturally use the wealth to kill himself.
That was what happened to me. The thing entered my head so much that I felt womanizing will not do it again. Somebody introduced cocaine to me, and they told me it will enhance my sexual activities. Some of my friends preached cocaine and I got addicted.
That was the beginning of trouble which I later find out to be the beginning of a turn around in my life. I got so hooked on that cocaine. My father did all he could before he died to stop me. He carried me to court; fought me, but since I'm convinced that Jesus is Lord, I am ready to die for it.
That was my kind of nature that time. Somebody like me must not put out his hand in anything that is not profiting because to come out is very difficult. So, I entered into that drug and I was hooked. All the money in the bank went.
At least, three days we may not play, we call it session, cocaine session. We bought in harm in quantity, that time in thousands of naira,I put it in my cabinet and begin to smoke it. Cocaine is a stimulating drug. It overcomes the heart, and you begin now to hallucinate, you're restless.
The moment it's finished, you want to buy more. It affects your health, no appetite, you don't sleep, you can't eat, once you smoke it, your tongue becomes so dry, taking mineral and cold water, no food, it's as if your whole month is burnt.
I saw it now by spiritual interpretation that God used that as a temporary punishment to arrest me the same way He arrested Paul of Tarsus and said it's a terrible thing to kick against God, now you have to change.
It was that cocaine, though the devil gave it to me, but God pressed the button. I entered into drugs because I had money. Poor man cannot smoke cocaine and get addicted quickly. I smoked cocaine with millions.
I had nine cars, I sold eight of them to smoke cocaine. I sold my Peugeot 505 for N4,000, Honda Accord for N3,500, a Mitsubishi N2,500. All my wives could have been in a position to help calm me down.
Sincerely speaking, an animal is better than a drug addict. When you're showing them love, they will be showing you hatred. All my money went down the drain. I sold nine cars, all the money in the bank (I used to be a regular performer on late Chief Rotimi Williams birthday) when money was money. He paid me about N25,000 for about 30 minutes show. St. John paid about N15,000. Apart from the ones I organise for myself.
That was how I got my wealth. At the age of 24, I already built a storey building. That's to tell you how successful I was at that time, and to be able to keep three wives at a time.
But cocaine came to take all the wealth. But having said that, I still feel God has known the set up. The Bible does not support magic. Bible sees income of magic as unrighteous.
And when God wants to take over, He will not allow you use the old garment of the devil, Zech 3:1-5, Joshua the high priest, the devil already poured filthy garment on him, and when God came to rescue him, the first thing God did was that He asked the angel to remove the filthy garment, and He now put His own garment.
I see that smoking period as a period in my life where God allowed the devil to waste all that he had given to me, so that my soul can be saved.
Because if you're a thief and you want to repent and go to God, and you still carry your seed of prostitution and the money you made, devil will not allow you to go. So, God allowed the devil to take all he can, restitution, so that by the time He brings you out, the forces of this world will have nothing against you.
When did you get converted and where?
I got converted on December 9, 1989, through Christ Believers Gospel Mission at Tamari Hospital, because I went for operation.
The doctor who carried out the operation happened to be a pastor. One Dr. Tobi James. He's a pastor in Christ's Royal Gospel Mission, Headquarters at Iwo Road, Ibadan, Idi-Ape. Drugs reduced me to nothing.
All my cars were gone. Even my 9-year old son, Abiola Peller, who is now reading sociology...I once put him down as a collateral to collect some drugs. He spent five months in Ibadan. I sold all the furniture and everything. I sold all the burglary proofs, only the blocks of the house were remaining in that building at that time. It was as bad as that. I became a proper junkie.
It was as terrible as that and the information got to my mother through people that became so worried. They started looking for me, the specialist saw me at Oju-Irin, Mushin, and he asked me to come to Ibadan.
I couldn't go because that time I had gone from cocaine down to heroine. Heroine is a disastrous drug. When you smoke it you can be dosing, and when you're sleeping, water can be coming out of your mouth.
The after effect of heroine is more terrible than that of cocaine. When you don't have heroine to smoke, you will be having body ache. When everybody is feeling cold, you'll be feeling hot, like in very high fever. The moment you're able to get heroine to smoke, it becomes normal again. After about two hours when that one dissolves, the effect will start again. A man will do anything to save his soul.
When you see these small small boys go about robbing, committing crimes, they're doing so to get money to satisfy the urge of the drug addiction in them. That's why we are trying to help them out. So, it was because of that addiction now, I used my son to lie. My mother heard of it and now took me to Tamari Hospital.
I said I won't go because if I don't have anything to smoke, I won't be able to cope. My mother now gave me N200. I bought it and smoked. She took the rest and tied it in her wrapper so she could give me in the evening when I need it. It was not really my mother that I followed to the hospital.
They can use drug to trick a drug addict to go and kill. Drug makes one to become so unreasonable. Prov 6:16 says 'Know ye not that to whom you yield yourself as a slave to obey, a servant of that which ye obey , either of him that laid to death or lead to life.' The life of a drug addict is complete slavery.
May God deliver Nigerian youths from the spirit of addiction.
When drug comes, it steals the whole of your emotion. That's why you think some of them are wicked. They cannot see, unless God intervenes.
In the hospital, I met this doctor who happened to be a pastor, and he preached to me that Christ died for my sins, because I was crying. I thought I was going to die. I've heard testimonies about operation---if they cut him, he may over bleed and die.
I was already suffering, yet I didn't want to die. Even though I was supposed to be a Muslim at that time, my dad said don't listen to these people. I partially said okay! So they prayed. In the cause of the operation, they prayed before they started.
They now asked me, since you have been doing your magic and all your tricks, what exactly are you coming into God's hands!
He said what will you commit. I now said to myself if I didn't die in that operation, if I should have the opportunity to live again, I will want to know more about the God that he was talking about.
I was so sober the way they were praying. For the first time, that's why I said nobody is either born a Christian or a Muslim. There are things you will see, things you will hear that you will have conviction that this one can save me.
This is a real man of God. I saw God the way they were praying. In fact, some of them were crying. The following day, when I woke up, they did the operation in the morning and I woke up in the night. My mother gave me some pap, I couldn't eat amala which I loved so much.
Before I drank the pap, I needed to take some heroine, because if you drink water without taking heroine, one will be vomiting. Then the doctor came in.
The Bible says he that winneth a soul is wise. He said; 'Mr. Peller, this thing you're taking is not your wish. By tomorrow, I will bring the bishop of my church. He will pray for you and you will never take this thing again.'
In my heart I was mocking him. I had respect for the doctor. The following day, he brought the bishop, Bishop Adeosun of Christ Believers Gospel Mission in Ibadan.
The man of God now met me, I told them all about myself and he now referred me to Isaiah 53:5, 'He was bruised for our transgressions, He was wounded for our iniquity, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and with is stripes, we are healed.'
He now started praying. By the time the man of God said in Jesus' name, something flew out of my head and that was when they ended the prayer.
They couldn't have known what I was feeling. By the time I felt something gone out of my head, that was when they ended their prayer.
The moment I opened my eyes, for the first time, in three years, I saw the state I was. I was wearing a bathroom slippers! I looked at myself, I knew something had just left me. I started crying. Thank God for the chance of hope. They went straight to the point---that the reason why the devil had access to my life was because I was a magician and because I didn't know Jesus.
They didn't know the details of our work enough about magic, so they told me my magic was what opened the door for the devil. Now that God has shown me mercy, they said I should not go back to my former profession and that I should come out. What will I now be doing? I was planning to go and take work in the Businessmen Fellowship.
That same night, the Lord appeared to me! He took me to heaven, I saw myself in a kind of flower, I've never seen here on earth. I was flying like a small bird and I had peace all over me. I saw a golden gate, and as I was nearing the gate, it opened on its own accord and I saw Jesus.
He was like a black man and He asked me, 'do you know who I am?' Then I said I know who you are; the Lord of Lords, King of Kings. There something inside of me, the kind of praise that I've never praised Him since that time till today, something on its own, like a tape recorder that was beyond the movement of my mouth was just showering praise on Jesus.
And He pointaed to the garden and saiad work in my vineyard. Immediately I entered, the same song they were singing, I was singing with them. I didn't want to come back until the horn of a danfo woke me up.
The following morning after that encounter, an invitation came from Kaduna. They said they were preparing for their regional convention at Ajala Hotel, the Lord told them that there's an evangelist, a magician who just got converted at Ibadan and sent one brother to go and look for him. He will be the one who God will use, somebody will testify. They started looking for me as if I'm an important person until they finally got me.
Then they bought me a suit. I met a lot of generals in the army who were dashing me money. After the meeting, they gave me a cheque for N1,000. Everything just happening like that. I thank God. I don't regret Jesus at all.
Thereafter, where did you start worshiping?
I started worshiping with Christ Believers Gospel Mission, Ibadan. That's the church of the doctor and Bishop James Adeosun. Their branch in Lagos started in my compound in Ijaiye before the Lord called me. They are already on their property now. I was there throughout for about four years. They did my first ordination as an evangelist.
I joined them to plant a lot of churches in Ondo State.
You said after your conversion, you had some problems with your dad...?
It's normal because of my testimony. They say when you find a torchlight, everybody is excited so they can use the light when electricity is out.
My father was to welcome NTA for the first time they came to Ibadan. He was ready to feature along with me before somebody called him to order, that are you not a Muslim, do you want to ridicule yourself?
That's to tell you how innocent my father was. I got converted. Sometimes my father do give me money to do offering. I told you my father is a family man. He loved his children. My father was ready to come on air with me but that day NEPA took light. Somebody was already calling him to order. I started growing in Christianity!
Then one-day, suddenly I came across Exodus 4:1-5; where God appeared to Moses, and said go to Egypt, bring out my people. He said what is in your hand, he said a rod, He said throw it down, he threw it down and it became serpent.
The Bible said Moses fled as he saw serpent, God said don't run away, take it, and it became rod. So, when he got to Egypt he displayed it, Pharaoh let my people go. I remember when I was in the magic school in London, they told us that Moses was the first magician.
Their claim was that he turned rod into serpent. But by the time I read Exodus 4:1-5, I found out Moses was not responsible for it. If he was responsible, he wouldn't have run before the serpent. I now knew who I was supposed to be representing as a magician. So, my message started changing. I now started preaching to my daddy.
You know when a child in the house begin to shit bad shit, they will take bad cloth to clean it. It was at that point there was a kind of spiritual conflict.
You can't claim to be a genuine Christian if you don't grow to a level of conflict with unbelievers.
Thank God for the conflict that time. At least people were able to know that we wouldn't have divided against ourselves if we were still members of the same house spiritually.
Did you reconcile with him before he died?
By the grace of God. We just returned from the burial of one my uncles, Bamisalawu Gangan. That was the person that God used. He came to my house. My father took me to court. Out of all the cases, God struck out the major one and that was the end of all the cases.
I was discharged and acquitted. So, that man now came and said that my father can't be so angry that he will not want to see me. It must be people who're putting fire in between us. If this matter will be settled, I'm the one that will still go and beg my father.
I never even knew my father will not live that long, because he would have just died now I will be missing him more terribly than I'm missing him now. It was on a Sunday after service, I dressed up and went and we reconciled. About three times in our convention, Peller was one of the guest ministers.
The day Rev. Wilson Badejo preached, he even gave us N25,000.
How successful has it been with the ministry God has given you? How many addicts have passed through you? How do you relate with them? Do they trust you? Don't people still suspect your motive?
Yes! I experience such. It's dying down though.
The devil raised people. I ignore a lot of voices. It takes a spiritual man to understand the things of the spirit. The one that sometimes can be painful are the missiles from fellow pastors; 'we have been there 30 years and this guy just came in and he wants to be a bishop.' If I know what the person said, no problem. If he's ignorant, I try to enlighten whoever is speaking.
There are some sets of men of God that we sat together, as I stood up preaching, I saw one of the men of God sitting in front of me started crying. By the time I finished, he rushed at me and held me. He said my brother, I've sinned against you, for the past years, I never believed you were a genuine man of God.
He said I came here to confront you and to curse you, but when you started preaching under two minutes, I knew you were a man of God.